Mitt Romney, during campaign stops in Michigan yesterday, embraced his Michigan roots for all they’re worth. As he watches his popularity plummet in the state in which he grew up, he seems to be grasping at anything to keep from sinking any further.
Romney tried to hit all the right buttons in order to resonate with Michigan voters leading up to their February 28 primary, by making himself one of them again. “I was born and raised here. I love being in Michigan,” Mr. Romney said. ”Everything seems right here. You know, I come back to Michigan; the trees are the right height. The grass is the right color for this time of year, kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing. It just feels right.”
As if those bizarre references weren’t enough to make one scratch their head, the candidate went on to further befuddle his audiences by offering up a paean to the state’s Great Lakes.
”I like seeing the lakes. I love the lakes. There’s something very special here. The Great Lakes, but also all the little inland lakes that dot the parts of Michigan.”
“You know, we’ve been to Massachusetts. I love the ocean, too, I do love the ocean, but there’s something special about lakes, where you don’t get salt on you after you’ve been swimming, where there’s no seaweed, where you don’t have to worry about things eating you in the water,” Mr. Romney said.
And of course, any speech in Michigan must mention the automobile industry, and Mr. Romney didn’t miss that opportunity to connect with car lovers state wide.
“I grew up totally in love with cars,” he said. “It used to be in the 50s and 60s, if you showed me one square foot of almost any part of a car I could tell you what brand it was, the model and so forth. Now with all the Japanese cars I’m not so good at it, but I still know the American cars pretty well.”
Mr. Romney told the crowd that he drives a Mustang.
“I love American cars, and long may they rule the world,” he said. “Let me tell you, I want them to do well.”
Thankfully he stopped slathering on all the disingenuous praise before he got down to mentioning how much he loves the peat industry and noting that Michigan is number one in the nation in the production of that product, or expressing his love for the Petoskey stone, the state’s official state stone. And he never once mentioned the state’s importance in the history and production of breakfast cereals, or the fact that Vernor’s ginger ale, created in Detroit, was the nation’s first soda pop, introduced in 1866. Hopefully those omissions won’t cost him a valuable demographic group or two at the polls later in the month.
If this wooden, contrived, campaign style in his home state, among the people with whom he grew up, is what he thinks passes for effective messaging, then President Obama has nothing to fear from Mitt Romney in November. If for no other reason, because with this type of embarrassing pandering, Romney seems increasingly less likely to be his party’s nominee in the first place.